Friday, March 29, 2002
Carlisle Public School looks at budget options
At a meeting of the Carlisle School Committee on March 19, in preparation for the selectmen's FY03 budget hearing later the same evening, school business manager Eileen Riley presented a "Table of Reductions" to illustrate the effect that a lean FY03 budget would have on the school. (See Table)
Included was a long list of established services that would be cut or reduced if no override were voted. This included cutting school library services by 50%, eliminating afternoon kindergarten, and incrfeasing class size for the second grade. Other cuts included one reading specialist, the grade five foreign language program, and bus services for grades seven and eight.
In a discussion about chargingt fees for services not mandated by law, such as school bus service for the seventh and eighth grades, committee member Paul Morrison commented, "I would rather not put fees on these. Cut them for a year and then bring them back." He prointed out that in the past fees didn't always cover the full cost of the service.
What will overrides buy?
The Table shows the items that would be restored if the town approved Proposition 2-1/2 overrides of 5.9% or 7.0%. However, even with a 7.0% override some personnel and services will have to be eliminated next year. These may include eliminating one special educator, reducing the general music program, reducing a guidance counselor position, eliminating the permanent substitutes, reducing the custodial staff, eliminating some popular co-curricular activities, such as the yearbook, student council and math league.
Fox-Melanson commented, "This is a school that we have spent nine years bringing back. Remember when I came here, what we did not have." Committee member Suzanne Whitney-Smith agreed, "We know the school needs the 10.77% [increase over the FY02] budget." Fox-Melanson agreed, "We need the 10.77% to stay in level services." But, committee member David Dockterman concluded, "We won't get that."
Town approves dollars not items
In a subsequent conversation, town moderator Sarah Brophy confirmed that the Town Meeting will be voting for the dollar amount of the school budget. While it is useful for the public to see how different budget levels may affect school services, the vote does not commit the school to any specific cuts or reductions. The school retains the authority to cut or reduce personnel or services as it deems best, within the budget appropriation, at any time during the fiscal year.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito